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NICE: Nice’s Bassem Srarfi (L) and Wylan Cyprien vie for the ball with Reims goalkeeper Ghislain Nclomande Konan during their Ligue 1 match at the Allianz Riviera Stadium.—AFP
NICE: Nice’s Bassem Srarfi (L) and Wylan Cyprien vie for the ball with Reims goalkeeper Ghislain Nclomande Konan during their Ligue 1 match at the Allianz Riviera Stadium.—AFP

PARIS: Radamel Falcao came off the bench to score and set up another goal as AS Monaco opened their Ligue 1 campaign with a 3-1 win at Nantes on Saturday.

Skipper Falcao came on after 67 minutes at the Stade de La Beaujoire and sparked Leonardo Jardim’s team into action as they scored three times in 14 minutes to kill off the contest.

Attacking midfielder Rony Lopes got the opener, heading a deflected cross past Nantes goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu in the 69th minute.

With 10 minutes left, Falcao gathered a high ball near halfway and intelligently flicked the ball over his head into the path of Jovetic, who scored with a cool finish.

Three minutes later, Falcao was celebrating after tapping in Samuel Grandsir’s low cross from the right, after Grandsir was freed by Jovetic’s measured pass inside the penalty area.

“Falcao is an important player for us, it’s easier when you have players of his quality,” Lopes said. “We didn’t play well in the first half.”

Nantes salvaged some pride through striker Emiliano Sala’s goal in the second minute of injury time.

Patrick Vieira said that his Nice side “ran out of luck” as he tasted defeat in his first league match as a coach in Europe with a 1-0 loss at home to newly-promoted Reims on Saturday.

The former Arsenal and France midfielder was brought in to replace Lucien Favre after his departure for Borussia Dortmund, but his reign got off to a miserable start.

Moussa Doumbia scored the only goal of the game in just the second minute of his Ligue 1 debut after joining Reims from Russian side Rostov. The Malian midfielder cut inside two defenders before beating Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale at his near post with a low shot from long range.

Nice dominated the rest of the match — enjoying 71 percent of possession — but only one of their 19 shots on goal was on target as they missed the injured Mario Balotelli.

“The goal made things much more difficult. A goal at the start like that is disappointing,” said Vieira.

“I was surprised. We ran out of luck. We created opportunities, especially in the second half.”

In other matches on Saturday, St Etienne needed a late goal from French forward Lois Diony to seal a 2-1 victory over Guingamp.

Wahbi Khazri had given 10-times Ligue 1 champions St Etienne the lead in the 45th minute before Guingamp equalised through Marcus Thuram, the son of former France defender Lilian Thuram.Lille powered past Stade Rennais 3-1 while Dijon too began with a win by seeing off Montpellier 2-1.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018